A Theory and Use of Meaningful Coincidences
(Synchronicities)

by Gibbs A. Williams, Ph.D.


ABSTRACT


The purpose of this paper is to scientifically investigate the phenomena of meaningful coincidences (synchronicities); specifically, to determine their nature and to delineate some purposes they serve - particularly as they occur in working with some patients receiving psychoanalytic psychotherapy. It is proposed that these apparently a-causal occurrences obey laws of psychodynamic causality and are therefore determined. Further that the principle issues associated with synchronicities are those having to do with the development of the self as it naturally aspires to increasing expansion of individual consciousness. It is concluded that meaningful coincidences are the surface manifestations of an individual's creative process accommodating the 'best' available resolution of a problem initially experienced as being trapped in a seemingly intractable psychological dilemma. From this perspective, there is nothing mystical or divine about the origins of these anomalous events. While this analysis does rob the 'magic' associated with only reacting to the surface; it nevertheless affirms a wondrous appreciation for the creative capacities of each person to order his own internal and external chaos.



The following is based on a personal letter written to Robert G. Jahn, Dean of School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Princeton University. I share this letter and my findings with you, the reader.

Robert G. Jahn, Dean
School Of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey 08554

Dear Robert,

To say that I was impressed with yours and Brenda Dunne's paper, On the Science of the Subjective, is a gross understatement. Better to describe it as a synthetic (in the sense of complex, integrated, and unified) tour de force.

As you know, I have been interested in investigating the mysteries and intellectual challenges of synchronicities (meaningful coincidences) for about 40 years. On the back burner for a few years, my interest has recently been re-stirred. Stirred up enough that I have written a book proposal tentatively titled:

Seeking The Golden Thread: The Evolving Self, Meaningful Coincidences, and The Creative Process.

The purpose of this letter is to review the findings of my first paper (a copy of which was sent to you nine years ago) and to offer a summary of additional observations, and conclusions to date.

In my first paper,The Demystification and Use of Meaningful Coincidences, I introduced the topic with the following statement:

''The purpose of this paper is to propose a new theory of meaningful coincidences which attempts to demystify these seemingly a-causal events by viewing them in the framework of the psychodynamics of the self; and to offer a constructive use to which an understanding of these events might be put.''

Psychodynamics is defined as ''mental or emotional forces or processes developing especially in early childhood and their effect on behavior or mental states.'' (Webster's Dictionary, 1963)

I began my paper with a summary of the Jungian theory of synchronicities, operationally defining them as a subjective event A conjoined by a parallel objective event A' (A-prime) by means of an apparent ''a-causal connecting principle.'' This structure, common to all synchronicites, may be illustrated as follows:

 

The Structure of a Meaningful Coincidence
(Synchronicity)
Self
Nexus
Object World
Psychic State
Causal or A-Causal?
Material State
Internal Reality
Intervening Variables
External Reality
Subjective Event A
 
Objective Event A'
Diagram 1


When ruling out causality as the linking principle connecting A and A', Jung says that all we are left with is an equivalence of meaning and an appearance of simultaneous occurrence.

What I found remarkable at that time, and find even more remarkable nine years later, is Jung's provocative categorical assertion that "a causal explanation of these phenomena is not even thinkable in intellectual terms." (Jung, 1955, The Nature and Interpretation of the Psyche).

If my own experience had not changed so radically over my forty year study of this subject, and if I had remained in the same state of 'Jungian" consciousness as I was initially, I would have never have written my first paper on synchronicities, as well as this additional material. However, during a lengthy course of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, followed by an intensive eleven year psychoanalysis, I found that I went through three different (although overlapping) perspectives with regards to my attempts to understand the nature and function of meaningful connections.

In other words, as my own consciousness changed (evolved?), - I believe in large measure accelerated by my therapeutic experiences, - so too did my perspectives concerning my reactions to, explanations of, and conclusions about the nature and function of these anomalous events.

I would characterize the sweep of my changing consciousness from one that was initially 'relatively reactive' to one which became 'relatively reflective' as I made a slow but steady progression in growing a self-structure. In my attempts to objectify my own subjective, I found meaningful coincidences making seemingly important but mysterious contributions in my dedicated identity questing.

Unwilling to accept Jung's dismissal of causality as 'unthinkable' as an explanation of these events, I set out to study them scientifically. Aiding in this effort I was particularly impressed by Kuhn, who states:

Discovery commences with the awareness of anomalies i.e. with the recognition that nature has somehow violated the paradigm - induced expectations that govern normal science.
(Kuhn, 1962, The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions)

In this light I observed that:

Synchronicities appear to violate (in part) the "paradigm" - induced expectations of Freudian psychodynamics in appearing to defy laws of psychic determinism transcending the conventional categories of time and space.


An Example Of A Particularly Meaningful Coincidence: Lazarus Rising
Representative of the kind of coincidence examined in my first paper is the first of nineteen synchronicities recorded over a period of twenty-five years, referred to as Lazarus Rising.


Later that night, following a seance, where the researcher had met a friendly woman, he was alone in his apartment reading the New Testament for the possibility of receiving spiritual guidance as he was accustomed to doing at that time in his life.

Excited, but skeptical, about the experience at the seance (contacting dead spirits and master teachers) he consciously mulled the question of the reality of divinity and personal intercession. For this to be valid, he reasoned, would mean that the conventional laws of cause and effect would be inadequate at best, in attempting to explain such miraculous happenings.

While mulling this over, he had randomly turned to the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead and was struck by the story's implications. He thought if events like this were true in the literal sense, then such phenomena as contacting 'dead' spirits and spiritual guides at a seance (initially judged to be as preposterous as they were seductive) may in fact hold validity.

Now feeling excitedly agitated he called the woman from the seance to share his experience with her. Responding to his apparant revelation, excitement, and conclusion, she exclaimed: "How uncanny! That very afternoon she had taken a walk with her (unconventional) psychiatrist. He was also a believer in spiritualism and a student of the esoteric occult. He had claimed to have received direct messages from both Freud and Jung while in a trance state. Who also told her that he had been present at the raising of Lazarus in a previous lifetime.

Upon hearing the coincidental reference to Lazarus rising, the researcher experienced a rush of awe (Jung would refer to it as a numinous experience). He felt in touch with mysterious forces which for him verified the possibility that so called occult forces might in fact be real and that he and others might personally be able to contact them.

I added:

Experiences like this one stimulated and reinforced an interest in the researcher to attempt to answer the question which Freud had raised in his own studies of the occult. - ''Are what they are telling us true or not?'' (Freud, 1953. Dreams and the Occult, from Psychoanalysis and the Occult Devereaux, G. - Editor, International University Press)


The following question arises:

With events such as the Lazarus coincidence (the first of nineteen personal synchronicities which I had found particularly meaningful) has the science of psychodynamics reached its limits of explanation?


My first paper was an attempt to reconcile the mysteries of these seemingly a-causal events, utilizing an alternative causal linking principle (synthetic causality), enabling one to view the production of synchronicities from the perspective of the psychodynamics of the self.

To this end, Jung's three anti-causal arguments were described and examined.

These are:

(1)   The problem of rare and spontaneous events,
       (a problem of methodology);
(2)   The problem of necessity and relativity (a problem of meaning); and,
(3)   The problem of simultaneity (a problem of time).

The point will be made that none of Jung's arguments is sufficiently compelling to obviate a scientific examination of these anomalous events.

Jung's Three Anti-Causal Arguments:

Methodology: The Problem of Rare and Spontaneous Events

Jung reasons that because these events happen only rarely and spontaneously, they therefore are incapable of being scientifically examined as in controlled experiments requiring controlled conditions.

(1) While it is true that each synchronicity differs from each other; they nevertheless, all share a common structure. (see diagram 1)

This repetition of pattern suggests a potential intellectual explanation of these odd events.

(2) Rare and spontaneous events may be viewed as abstracted data lifted and highlighted out of a particular and potentially knowable continuum of personal experience. (Thus a given synchronicity is to a particular flow of personal experience as text is to subtext, or figure is to ground.)

Helen Deutsch offers a key methodological attitude in the pursuit of subjecting these elusive events to scientific scrutiny.

Deutsch states:
One has the impression that only by fitting such "occult" incidents into a continuum can one deprive them of their mystical features. Deutsch, 1945, Occult Processes Occurring During Psychoanalysis.

This approach led me to view my own and others' synchronicities from the perspective of overlapping contexts. I named these overlapping contexts:

(1) The situational context, and
(2) the psychological context(s):
    (a) conscious context, and
    (b) inferred unconscious context.

These contexts were provided in detailed journal notes preceding the experience of the reported synchronicities of this author as well as some of his patients.

An examination of the contextual contexts of the 19 meaningful coincidences cited by this author indicated that there was a common thread running through all of the relevant contexts of this subject. Meaningful coincidences were associated with unresolved conflicts concerning a fragmented self in search of wholeness.

Causality and Equivalence of Meaning: The Problem of Necessity and Relativity
Jung argues that conventional physics believes that there are necessary relationships connecting events with each other. That is, that objective event A' could be demonstrated to invariably follow from subjective event A.

Modern physics has demonstrated that necessity is replaced by probability theory. Thus Jung concluded that the connection between A and A' has to be explained by some other principle than that of causality. By removing causality as an explanatory linking principle, what is left is only an equivalence of meaning and apparent simultaneity.

With respect to the causality issue, Jung refers only to the conventional definition of causality, omitting any reference to alternative conceptions, obviating a potentially valid causal explanation of these events. Among them is teleological causality, which Robert G. Jahn and Brenda Dunne refer to in their paper.

With respect to equivalence of meaning, Jung assumes that in addition to personal generated meanings there is a realm of absolute meaning 'out there' able to be tapped into, leading to a connection with potentially derivable divine wisdom. Synchronicities in this view are coded messages from this realm of unmediated absolute meaning (archetypal knowledge).

My experience indicates that meaning is not static and passively received but is a by-product of an active process of interpreting the raw data of experience, utilizing one's conscious and personal unconscious. Thus, references to meaning implies an active process of meaning making, wherein something personal is always added to the raw data of experience, resulting in meaningful connectedness.

Thus it follows, that the process for generating meanings, consists of the raw data of experience being filtered through the idiosyncratic contents and structure (whole, partial, or missing) and is interpreted according to the degree of attained consciousness of a given individual.

Simultaneity: The Problem Of Time
With respect to the problem of simultaneity (a time) problem, Jung is referring to linear time (clock time: past, present, and future) obviating other concepts of time. In my view, synchronicities are intimately involved with both linear time and durational time. Durational time refers to the subjective experience of no time, or timelessness, or ''play time'' - the time that is associated with early childhood.

My analysis of synchronisitic phenomena indicates that with respect to time there is an overlapping of linear and durational time. This is an important observation as it directly connects degrees of consciousness with the production of meaningful coincidences. Thus related to your thesis about the major contribution of consciousness creating "reality".

Bach states:

space and time appear in synchronistic events as if they were related to conditions of the psyche, as if they were only demanded by consciousness and did not exist in their own mind (1972, Jung's Relationship to Synchronicity).

Implications for an Understanding of
The Psychodynamics of Meaningful Coincidences

After rebutting Jung's three anti-causal arguments with my own points of view, I spelled out an alternative account of the psychodynamics of synchronistic events. In this connection, I made use of Spitz's concepts of psychic organizers particularly the smile response of the baby at about five months old; mirroring; overlapping of two modes of consciousness (durational timelessness and no spatial boundaries/linear time and bounded space); compromise formations utilizing Waelder's concept of the principle of multiple functions; Noy's concept of developing primary process - a hint as to how consciousness expands?; and Winnicotts' concepts of transitional phenomena, negotiating transitional space, and transitional objects. All of this flows together in the psychodynamics of the creative process.

I concluded:

What is seen in synchronisitic events and the awe response is the deification of one's own psychological processes. This process is perceived as magical by those who are unable to feel validated as having a cohesive self (i.e., unable to make a meaningful connection with their own personal unconscious).

For those individuals who have a cohesive self it is suggested that the psychological process leading to (the production of) synchronicities is experienced as synonymous with what is commonly called the creative process. Thus people with a cohesive self do have synchronicities, but their experience of synchronicities is likely to be registered as a by-product of their own creative unconscious and conscious.

I ended my paper with the following remarks:

In this connection: the awe experience associated with experiencing meaningful coincidences is like the author of an epic play who somehow forgot he is the author and who in watching an enactment of his production exclaims in wonder: "Marvelous! I wonder who wrote that?" Quoting Wittenberg, 1978 personal communication).

Finally, viewing meaningful coincidences as derivatives of the personal unconscious, taking the form of projected transitional objects, supports Freud's conclusion regarding occult phenomena:

The differences between myself and the superstitious person are two: first, he projects outwards a motivation which I look for within; secondly, he interprets chance due to an event, while I trace it back to a thought. But what is hidden from him corresponds to what is unconscious for me. Freud, 1919, The Uncanny)

That was nine years ago. The following material is new.

In part, I used your papers: On The Quantum Mechanics Of Consciousness, With Applications to Anomalous Phenomena and The Science Of The Subjective as a guide to what is new with my continuing work.

You state:

Some attempt to represent the experiences of human consciousness as it turns inward towards its center, rather than outward toward its environment, {might} be a worthwhile next step.(On The Quantum Mechanics of Consciousness, p.769 Jahn and Dunne)

Responding to your challenge, the following is a diagram of a map of the psyche (internal reality) associated with the production of meaningful coincidences, otherwise known as synchroncities (a class of anomalous phenomena).


The Common Structure of Synchronistic Phenomena
The Subjective Event
Nexus
The Objective Event
The Intrapsycic
The Connecting Matrix
The Interpersonal
 
Linking Principle
 
 
(Causal?)
 
 
(A-Causal?)
 
Diagram 2


While all synchronicities are likely to have idiosyncratic meanings, nevertheless they share a common structure. A is associated with internal reality or subjective experience (intrapsychic). A' is associated with external reality or objective reality (interpersonal). If one views intrapsychic reality together with interpersonal reality, the resulting combination may be thought of as a 'systems perspective' of reality.

The Subjective Matrix
This next section will focus on the nature of the subjective, intrapsychic matrix. Following is an outline of the salient contents, structures, and their interrelationships that appear to be most relevant to the production of these anomalous events. These include the contents of psychological inner space, the structures of inner space, some interrelationships between contents and structures, and some implications towards understanding the production of meaningful coincidences.

The Contents Of Psychological Innerspace:
The contents of psychological inner space are: physical sensations, feelings, thoughts (fantasies), intuitions, judgments.

The Structures of Psychological Inner Space:
While there are a number of models of the psyche, the one that seems to me to be the most inclusive of the relevant facts and the most exclusive of extraneous material is that of Freud's structural theory.

Following is an overview of the central organizing concepts comprising the essence of the structural theory.

The Id
reservoir of basic instincts which may be broken down into two: libido (love - binding - moving towards fusion); and aggression (extension in space moving against - in the service of separation and differentiation). The Id may be inherently strong or weak, seeks immediate discharge, is expressed in fantasy and or in actions, may be allowed free sway on the one hand to actively squelched (suppression, repression) on the other. The id is under the sway of the pleasure principal that asserts 'I want what I want when I want it' and 'I will tolerate no frustration'.

The Superego
representative of 'the law' (shoulds/should nots) which is internalized in the developing child and becomes the voice of moral authority. The superego ranges from primitive to mature; moderate to rigidly punitive; and in some cases, missing altogether. The superego is the representative of inevitable limitations. It often says 'No' to the Id. It is out of the clash of I want vs. you can't have it or can't have it now that the ego is born.

Note:
Between the forces of id and superego, internal reality is characterized by a state of seemingly never ending psychological conflict. Out of the inevitable clash between the desires of the id and the restrictions of the superego, another psychological structure is born, referred to as the ego.

The Ego
(the voice of reason) is the internal traffic cop which mediates the desires of the id with the real or imagined restrictions of the superego. The ego is under the sway of the reality principle which assesses the realistic possibility/probability of obtaining desired gratification in the context of real or imagined prohibitions. The ego may be profitably viewed as being globally ego strong to ego weak.

Further, the ego may be broken down into a defensive ego which is the repository of defense mechanisms whose function it is to protect the system from psychological overload (i.e., panic anxiety). Defenses range from primitive (denial, projection) to sophisticated (sublimation).

Along with the defensive ego are the autonomous ego functions, whose responsibility is to connect the whole person with external reality. Among the autonomous ego functions are thinking, organizing, and synthesizing. Under certain conditions the autonomous ego, initially thought to be conflict free, becomes conflicted itself.

Current psychological mapping suggests that it is profitable to include the self as a separate psychological structure along side the id, ego, and superego. Previously, what is now referred to as the self, was considered to be part of the ego.

The Self
is operationally defined as something solid at the core of an individual that endures in the midst of internal or external confusion. It is also the prime moving force in the individual that would commonly be thought of as the person's vital essence. Using Kohut and Spitz as guides: the self is thought to grow and develop out of an undifferentiated matrix.

According to Spitz the self spontaneously grows to the degree that the new born develops the capacity to tolerate increasing dosages of frustration. Thus the self learns to sustain continuity despite internal and external threats to the integrity of its beingness.

Note: It is important to note that this is but one view of the self.

In this view, the self ranges from cohesive to incohesive to practically non existent. The self can be strong (able to remain constant, steady, and continuous even under great internal and external pressure) to highly vulnerable (easily fragmented, decimated, destroyed, with little capacity to bounce back).

How Content and Structures Interact
According to classical depth psychology, there are six concepts utilized to comprehensively understand how content is processed through form. These six concepts are: the structural (id, superego, ego), the topographic or the iceberg model, the dynamic, the economic, the genetic, and the adaptive.

The topographic depth psychology model (also referred to as the iceberg model) of the psyche asserts that like an iceberg, psychic productions may be best viewed as originating out of unconscious experience passing through preconscious to consciousness. Consciousness may be thought of as the tip of the iceberg signifying 'that experience' of which we are most aware and focused upon at any given time.

The dynamic model asserts that the contents of consciousness (feelings, thoughts, sensations, intuitions, fantasies, judgments, actions, observed as verbal and non-verbal behavior) are actively processed through the structures of id, superego, ego, and the self. This processing is dynamic (kinetic) as differentiated from static and fixed.

The economic point of view asserts that there is a certain quantity of psychic energy associated with this processing which is either used synergistically (like an efficient motor that hums) or is constricted (ranging from bottled up to short circuited, as in neurotic or psychotic personalities).

The adaptive point of view asserts that all psychic behavior serves knowable conscious and unconscious purposes including behavior which seems most random or apparently non sensical. Thus, all behavior is considered to be an attempt (though perhaps an inefficient one) to resolve a psychological conflict.

The genetic point of view: points backwards to the historical origin of all behavior. It also takes into account the fact that growing and developing individuals pass through identifiable psychological stages of development (Erikson, Freud, Spitz, Mahler, Piaget, Kohlberg et.al )

Implications Of This Particular Model of
The Psyche for The Production of Synchronicities
This model of the mind is one which is highly complex and multi layered. It is also one that appreciates psychic origins, thus emphasizing determinism but also takes into account intentionality (purpose) hence teleology. (Proponents of this theoretical perspective believe that behavior is both caused and is purposeful Thus there is a joint acceptance of both classical causality and 'modern' teleological causality. (The genetic plus the adaptive points of view.)

Acceptance of this multiple point of view model of the psyche suggests that contents processed through a given individual's structure (or lack of structure) is idiosyncratic (relative) to the individual in question, and is therefore constantly in motion (capable of development.)

The idiosyncratic ways in which a given person will attempt to organize his chaos, utilizing his particular complex of contents of consciousness processing through his particular structures, is the operational definition of psychodynamics.

In this view, the more a person is aware of (cathects: makes an abstract concept come alive) his own unique complex of contents and structures, and the ways in which they work, together is an operational definition of degrees of consciousness.

Extending this idea - a person who is increasingly aware of his psychodynamics (both in the sense of understanding how he gotten to be the person he is, as well as utilizing this information for making increasingly better informed judgments) might be thought of as being conscious of being conscious. {Consciousness of consciousness}.

In this view, consciousness is neither staic nor equal in all human beings; but, instead it is more or less developed and developing and is, therefore,capable of expanding..

Summary:
Developmental psychology indicates that there is a layering of the psyche ranging from the most primitive preverbal sensory realm of consciousness to the most highly evolved integrated synthetic consciousness. Analyses of thousands of people suggest that if the pre-verbal child could share his view of reality. he might well describe it in William James' terms that the world appears to be "a busy buzzing confusion of sensation," of which, it is each person's life long task to order his own chaos. This task might operationally be defined as proactive meaning-making.

Undeveloped (preoedipal/ pre-verbal /unmediated) experience is characterized as stimulus - reactive, (S-R) reflexive responses; differentiated from developing oedipal/verbal/mediated ) experiences characterized as stimulus - organism - response (S-O-R) reflective responses.

Each level is associated with its own organization of consciousness and may singularly and collectively be regarded as a filtering system allowing in or screening out what it deems as significant stimuli (raw data or information) utilized in generating meaningful connections.

An Additional Transformational Point of View:
To account for the fact that individuals, under conditions yet to be specified) can expand their consciousness: the organizing concept of a transformational point of view might be helpful. Personal and professional observations indicate that conflicts are resolved by utilizing a more complex logic than linear logic {conventional 'scientific' logic} alone, e.g.,a logic of a different order.

This logic of a different order is composed of feelings, ideas, intuitions, sensations and contributions of the personal unconscious. Further, it is expressed in the form of Hegelian dialectic. Thus this complex layered logic might best referred to as a logic of experience (wherein: experience is operationally defined as a combination of affects, ideas plus intuitions, sensations, and additional information from the personal unconscious.)

The essence of experiential logic begins with the recognition of a felt problem that seeks resolution (the thesis). This surface problem (thesis) is embedded in a 'negative' matrix (antithesis). Resolving a given problem involves finding some way to obtain what is desirable (or to stop doing what is undesirable) by negotiating the mix of thesis and antithesis resulting in a psychic compromise. This psychic compromise, then, may be viewed as a tertiary blending of thesis and antithesis which in turn becomes a new thesis {starting point for the next leg of a person's life journey}.

To amplify the concept of transformation, I think it valuable to divide the whole of experience into two qualitatively distinct realms of experience. These are the realm of being and the realm of doing. In this connection note the following figure:



Realms of Experience
Being
Point of Transition
Doing
A
B
C
Passive Self
 
Active Self
Task:
Attain Object
and
Self Constancy
 
Task:
Attain
Self Directed
Actions
Diagram 3


The realm of Being (A) is associated with the first two years of life (preoedipal:pre-verbal) hence preconscious at best and probably mainly unconscious experience. According to Spitz, Kohut et.al the first two years, particularly the first, is crucial to the development of a cohesive self.

In order to grow a cohesive self structure, the child has to learn how to bear increasing dosages of frustration and other so called negative affects. Among these negative affects are: anxiety, depression, ambiguity, confusion, ambivalence, not knowing, uncertainty, increasing complexity and the like.

Tolerating increasing dosages of frustration leads to the automatic development of a cohesive self. Failure to begin to process the capacity to tolerate frustration means that the chronologically advancing child is devoid of the psychological prerequisites for spontaneously growing a cohesive self. This results in a chronological grownup, but who at the time, is psychologically unable to regulate his self-esteem. This problem has crucial implications for the quality of life for people suffering from this difficulty.

Those who are unable to regulate their self-esteem (irrespective of intelligence and drive) are utterly dependent upon the object world to regulate their self-esteem for them. To the preoedipal child (under 3 years old) the object world functions as a reflecting mirror.

Thus, their self-esteem rises or falls in direct proportion to the degree to which they experience a harmonious connection to the projected authority(s) of the moment. If perceived worthy by the projected authority(s) of the moment, they will correspondingly feel all is right with themselves and the world; whereas, if perceived as disapproved of, they will feel depressed sometimes to the point of feeling crushed by an internalized negative judgment of unworthiness. In the grips of perceived negative feedback they often experience themselves as if they were to suddenly plummet into a deep hole and lose whatever hard won identity they have been able to muster.

Successfully negotiating the developmental task leading to the spontaneous growth and development of a cohesive self is a two step process technically referred to as (1) object constancy leading to (2) self constancy. It is in the realm of being that the central issues of object and self constancy must be initiated and worked through as necessary conditions for a cohesive self to form and to develop. An explanation of object and self constancy follows.

Overview of Object and Self Constancy:
Children are under the sway of the pleasure principle. That is, they want what they want when they want it and brook no frustration. When the mother's response matches the child's desire, the child experiences a state of blissful at-one-ment with the 'good' mother. This state of being is, of course, ideally desirable but doomed to inevitable a periodic disruptions, as no 'mother' can be quite so perfectly understanding all the time.

When the imperfect authority figure (usually the mother) inevitably fails to provide the expected 'perfect' response, her child experiences the missed expectation {disappointment} with frustration and anger. The child now experiences the same angelic good mother of the recent past as presently frustratingly withholding, pain inducing and therefore bad. It is normal for the disappointed child to turn his derived fury against the frustrating 'object' usually in the form of actively hating and or rejecting the perceived 'bad' parent.

Object constancy is the capacity of a person to experience the frustratingly 'withholding' object as bad, hated, and 'killed off'; yet, somehow, at the same time, managing to tolerate the destructive negative affect enough to be able to repair the broken circuit, thus emotionally reconnecting with the frustrating but loved parental object. Self constancy refers to the same situation, except that the person who falls short of his expectations of himself is able to be disappointed without "completely" destroying himself (psychic or literal suicide), keeping solid, and maintaining focus and fortitude.

Thus the realm of being is primarily concerned with growing and preserving the integrity of the self structure. The 'job" of the baby is just to be - required only to be given to in the form of recognition, validation, and unconditional acceptance. In the countless small but, cumulative daily disappointments (frustrations) of normal living, the developing child hopefully learns how to experience a missed expectation (disappointment) as only a disappointment and not as a sign that the end of his world (complete destruction of loving feelings towards his main connections or to himself) has actually come about.

Successfully negotiating the tasks of object and self constancy leads directly to the growth and development of a cohesive self. An operational definition of a cohesive self is the capacity of a disappointed person to experience internal and external cohesion while still remaining solid at the core. Attaining self constancy is a necessary condition to enable the developing child to move from overreacting to glitches (as like a paramecium might react to a live 'wire) to being able to reflect upon them in a balanced, even manner. A person, in this state, is able to shift from automatically reacting to acting from within).

Summary
The psychological process of self-esteem regulation has been highlighted. This process starts with newborns reacting automatically and emotionally to internal and external stimuli which frustrate them. As they gradually learn how to bear increasing dosages of 'negative' affect (including frustration, anxiety, depression, ambiguity, confusion etc.) they learn to delay, and think through problems so as to be able to make increasingly more effective problem solving choices. Towards this end, attaining self-constancy is a necessary condition to enable the developing child to move from simply reacting to glitches (as like a paramecium might react to a live wire) to being able to reflect upon them.

Now, finally, we come to the relevance of this discussion to the topic of meaningful coincidences. The development of a cohesive self, by learning to bear increasing dosages of frustration leading to object constancy and then self constancy is, I believe, the core psychological process involved in what speculative philosophers are describing when they refer to a human being's need to order their personal chaos. The psychological progression from automatically reacting to being able to act from within is, I believe, a statement about the existence and development of consciousness.

In this light there is, then, a necessary connection between the attained level of psychological development and the degree of attained development of an individual's consciousness.

This means that if a person has failed to negotiate the tasks of either object constancy and / or self constancy, attempts by them to order their personal chaos will be necessarily filtered through the predominance of that state of being associated with the attained level of incomplete self development. Thus it is not coincidental that in the analyses of adults who are seen to be fixated (developmentally stuck) in the stage of preoedipal development, to observe them predictably preoccupied with fusion wishes and fantasies echoing the theme and variation of continuously needing and searching for uninterrupted at-one-ment (fusion) experiences.

Thus reported psychological conflicts centering on derailed dialogues, and attempts to mend broken relationships, (either with the object world or with the self), are the norm. Additionally, such people are very concerned with issues of essences and ultimates expressed as a preoccupation with binary opposites including those of keeping the faith/faithlessness; trust/mistrust; hope/hopelessness; persistence/collapsing; cathecting meaningful relationships vs. cynically throwing cold water on even the idea of having, let alone sustaining meaningful connections.

Additional Developmental Layers
The preoedipal (preverbal) level of psychological development has been further subdivided by M.Klein, who first named and described the depressive position, (2nd quarter of the first year). Klein, Winnicott et.al. adding the even more primitive position named the paranoid-schizoid mode (first quarter of the first year). And the most primitive organization of experience beginning with birth: the autistic-contiguous mode (Bick, Meltzer, Tustin, Bion, and synthesized by Ogden).

The Depressive Mode
Allows the person to symbolize reality allowing "one to experience oneself as a person thinking one's thought and feelings one's feelings. In this way, thoughts and feelings are experienced to a large degree as personal creations that can be understood (interpreted)." (Ogden, The Primitive Edge, 1989.)

Paranoid-Schizoid Mode
Whereas the depressive position ''operates predominantly in the service of containment of experience, including psychological pain, the paranoid-schizoid mode is more evenly divided between efforts at managing psychic pain and efforts at the evacuation of pain through the defensive use of omnipotent thinking, denial, and the creation of discontinuities of experience.'' (Ogden, 1989) In this mode there is no space between the symbol and what is symbolized, experience is taken as concrete. That is what appears to be is all there is. Thinking is two dimensional. (Ogden, 1989) There is no experience of choice only a sense of being at the mercy of forces (internal or external) that are beyond one's control.

The Autistic-Contiguous Mode:
is a sensory dominated mode of generating experiences which is essentially dominated by "a relationship of shape to the feeling of enclosure, of beat to the feeling of rhythm, of hardness to the feeling of edginess.... There is practically no sense of inside and outside or self and other: rather, what is important is the pattern, boundedness, shape, rhythm, texture, hardness, softness, warmth, coldness, and so on... It is the ''sensory floor'' of experience. (Ogden, 1989)

Filters Of Experience:
It is suggested that each of the above modes of experiencing (individually and collectively) be viewed as filters through which the raw data of experience is selected and organized. In this perspective, each mode, singularly and in combination, has its own conscious and unconscious organizing concepts which may be expected to filter the raw data of experience in predictable ways. If this idea be extended to attempts to understand the nature and function of consciousness, it is hypothesized that consciousness is actively dynamic (not static) and ranges from an unfifferentiated sensory base, gradually to quickly, expanding into ever increasing states of awakeness and awareness. The penultimate state of awake and aware might be thought of as consciousness of consciousness.

Filters of Experience and Primary Process: Time and Space
With respect to the way in which connections are made, evidence indicates that it is done so by means of primary process linkages. Primary process logic is akin to the Salvador Dali painting: Time Bending. In this painting there is seen a large pocket watch that seems to have melted and thus would be incapable of functioning; yet, at the same time, there is the sense that somehow it is still able to do so despite apparent linear logical impossibility.

Considering time and space, (the mediums in which cause and effect are conceptualized) there is a radical departure from conventional scientific causality. For the baby there is no such reality as a sense of time. There is, instead, a sense of timelessness, no clock time, no awareness of a past, present and/or future, but in its place only play or vacation time. There is also no sense of clear boundaries as for example; being able to distinguish internal from external reality (differentiating all that is in the body 'me' from all that is outside the body 'not me' ) but rather, is a sense of fusion particularly with the primary mother. (In an important experiment at New York University it was concluded that the core concept dominating the inferred unconscious of the year one baby is "My Mother and I are One"). (L.Silverman). In the light of these findings it seems fruitful to refer to this realm of preoedipal experience as durational consciousness.

Oedipal/Linear Consciousness (three-seven years)
The oedipal mode of consciousness organizes chaos utilizing the organizing concepts (psychic filters) of linear time, and bounded space. {conventional causality} The language used to express cause and effect linkages is often characterized as scientific, rational, objective, (exclusively of the intellect). The logic of this form of consciousness is governed by laws of secondary process. Time is thought of as clock time with a clear sense of past, present, and future. Space is clearly demarcated as defining and limiting one object from another as in the differentiation of inside from outside. Preoedipal consciousness is characterized by unmediated linkages (s-r) reactive responses to stimuli; whereas oedipal consciousness is characterized by the beginnings of mediated (s-o-r-) reflective linkages.

Oedipal consciousness is also associated with the realm of doing as differentiated from the preoedipal realm of being. In this realm of consciousness desires converted into ideas are now galvanized into proactivity towards the attainment of a desired goal.

Thus passive wishes of the preoedipal state (give me) is converted into active intentionality in the doing oedipal stage of consciousness. (Bear in mind that the categories of being and doing, are not absolutely black and white distinctions but are better thought of as a continuum.

Summary: Implications of Alternative State Of Consciousness
(Pre-Oedipal: Oedipal Being-Oedipal Doing)
In a given individual at any one time (past the age of two? years) there exists not one consciousness (linear) rather two (linear and durational) expressed in the form of two distinct logical processes. One process is usually more predominant than the other. Additionally, these two logics may either be independent of each other or more or less overlapping. An overlapping (blending) of consciousness a: (durational), and consciousness b: (linear), results in a synthetic or tertiary consciousness having its own unique stamp and coloration when placed upon the raw data of experience. It is conjectured that meaningful coincidences are an external manifestation of an overlapping of durational and linear consciousness.

Fertile Conditions For The Appearance Of Synchronisitic Phenomena
Research has established that synchronisitic phenomena are intimately associated with attempts to resolve psychological problems. What has not been done is an analysis of the specific nature of the problems associated with the production of synchronistic phenomena. Following is an attempt to do so.

The first issue is to be clear about the nature of a psychological problem. Psychological problems are experienced when a person either (a) tries to initiate or sustain some activity (mental or physical) but is thwarted; or (1)) tries to stop some ongoing activity but is thwarted. In other terms, psychological problems are operationally defined as the inability to continue smooth functioning in either state of positive or negative inertia having encountered a discontinuity (stuck point, glitch) in experience.

In a problem solving model of learning, it is assumed that people prefer a state of balance (homeostasis) to imbalance. When the balance is markedly upset, a need is generated for redressing the grievance (process of adaptation). Providing a person has access to thinking through a problem, there will be an attempt to assimilate an answer searching for relevant past experience to be used as a model for current problem solving. This is equivalent to pouring new wine into old bottles = taking the substance of the present problem and fitting it into a familiar structure for the purposes of applying what was learned from the past to solve the present problem).

When assimilation fails to work, as when the present presents a unique challenge to the person in question, there then is a need for a creative solution (an accommodation). (New wine is put into a new bottle = taking the substance of the present problem and fitting it into a new structure = a creative solution.)

In this light it is interesting to examine the consciousness of pre-synchronistically prone individuals.

NOTE: The following examples of synchronicities and the contexts in which they are embedded are culled from detailed session notes of some patients receiving psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Contextual Analyses of Meaningful Coincidences
The quality of the psychological stuckness or grid lock is dependent upon the attained level of the psychological development of a given individual. If the grid lock occurs in a person who is stuck in a preoedipal developmental stage years one and two), the experience of dead lock will be one of fundamental physical/psychological survival - (preservation of being). Whereas, if the point of stuckness is experienced by an individual at a higher level of psychological development, the stuckness will be characterized by issues of intentionality, focusing, initiating, executing, and following through - giving ideas substance - (issues of doing).

(a) A representative example of presynchronistic consciousness of a patient stuck in the pre-oedipal stage of psychic development

In her present state of consciousness C feels as if she is in touch with what is real but is unable to sustain it. Thus she often finds himself shifting from clarity to confusion, turning 180 degrees in an instant. "It is one thing to have the courage of my conviction when I am in my right mind; but what do I do when I experience myself as mindless?" when in a state of mindlessness, she feels as if there is nothing, she is nothing. At such points, unable to access her own will, her frustration turns to rage, which is turned back onto herself eventually converting to panic anxiety, unbearable tension, and culminating in explosive hysteria.

(Note the sense of desperation, feeling utterly stuck in the psychic state of the moment, unable to utilize any of her powers to free herself of overwhelming 'negative' ego states. She feels as if she is in the grips of external and internal forces that are beyond her control.)

C details vivid memories of childhood when she was subjected to extreme physical and psychological abuse. Whatever she did resulted in stinging criticism. To survive she had to deny her own sense of reality pretending that decidedly abnormal conditions were normal. "All roads led to bad, mad, sad, ineffectualness."

All she wanted to do was to curl up in a ball and go to sleep but that was dangerous as well. Eventually this nonstop suppression of her natural self eroded her spirit causing a wide splits in her sense of self and a de-vitalization of spirit at her core. (I noted that at this time she was beginning to experience that which heretofore she had only been partially aware.)

It was now clearly established that it was difficult for C to confront distasteful external realities. Thus, when feeling put upon, disappointed or angry at some other person's attitude or behavior toward her, she denied their part; instead, feeling as if she is somehow to be blamed for creating a conflict. To survive she blocks out, denies, dissociates her ever present horror story, coupled with a confusion of perpetual uncertainty as to what she is responsible for, from that which is independent of herself.

In this context, it should come as no surprise that she has had a learning deficit all of her life, selectively unable to concentrate. "If I am lucky I will get caught up in the magic of the day by erasing 'the horror' until that time comes back again."

At a point during the session the researcher mentioned the fact that when Jung was three years old, his mother was committed to an asylum which left his father bitter. (Thus the founder of synchronicities has an intimate, traumatic) connection with the years: 2 and three 3.)

C's Synchronicity: As soon as I mentioned the numbers 2 and 3, C immediately related a dream of the previous night. She is in a room. Someone comes in and gives her the numbers 238 or 328. One of these combinations is supposed to be G's room (G = her therapist) who C tries to get to despite many obstacles. She says she feels like a small girl and has to reach up high and touch them to figure out which number is which. She has a clear mission to get to G. But on the way, she encounters many difficulties (these are both real and of her own construction for the purposes of the dream). I associate to myself that she is talking about always feeling in between: one half in and one half out. C is wedged between being born and dying; to be or not to be; dead and/or alive; between her mother/father; between her parents/and herself; between the unconscious wish to be dependent and her dread and self hatred of it; between her wish to be autonomous and her fears she will be discovered as a fraud and so on in all areas of her life. She seems caught in a psychological cleft stick of seemingly unresolveable binary black/white, all or nothing-dead locks. She easily gets short circuited, drained of all of her libido, feeling utterly stuck, trapped, zero pointed, devitalized at the core; nothing solid, either external or internal to hang on to; stuck between pre-oedipal consciousness and oedipal consciousness.

In the dream her friend is taking her around a mall. C drifts into a shop and sees an intricate little mechanical pig. It is amazing but frightening. It comes alive, opens up and splits apart. She wants to send it to a child, so she hands the salesperson $20.00 expecting change. Instead of the change she gets back a book of coupons worth $50.00. She is outraged wanting her money not the coupons. Once again C is frustrated beyond belief. Then she realizes she is late for her appointment with G. It is now 1:30 and the session was scheduled for 10:00. She panics. She goes to an office and asks for help to locate G.

This is when they give her the numbers 238 or 328. Her friend wants to go down the escalator, but C needs to go to see G in a different direction. She is stymied but instead of feeling hopelessly caught in the horns of a dilemma, she uncharacteristically chooses to take a position, spontaneously saying to herself,''the hell with her I'll meet up with her later.'' She then goes down a long tunnel confronting additional obstacles along the way to finally get to G.

Post Script to C's Synchronicity
I wonder if she is talking about her experience of rapprochement at 2-1/2? Something always went wrong. She is cheated, or dismissed, or brushed off or ignored. All of this makes her feel crazy and stirs up hysteria. She grew to hate normal conflict and would easily short circuit at even the hint of it. What would and should be a relatively innocuous problem for most people, for C has turned out to be a matter of life and death stirring up seemingly unresolveable internal and external conflicts. In an instant her whole physical and psychological systems can freeze up, which she experiences as a no choice, no exit, terrorizing state of affairs. In such states (frequently stirred up) she feels ''trapped for life.''

At the very instant she chose to go her own way leaving her friend on the escalator, C believes that all might be lost because of her choice to go her own way. But uncharacteristically, C let her desire to see G override her intense separation anxiety and fear of abandonment.

She appeared to make a true autonomous choice despite anticipated dangers. This uncharacteristic action was interpreted to be a significant development. It is known that a novel act in a dream usually means that the person is capable of doing the same act when conscious; but, awareness of the fact is initially in a preconscious state. When awakened from the dream, the change in attitude had yet to be experienced consciously.

C associated more to the dream, ''Obstacles every step of the way...{always} experiencing ultimate frustration.'' (Perhaps here is a key:) To survive, she has had to endure whatever frustrations she encounters or else she dies. 'No way out ''I have no where to go... no other purpose--I don't know where I came from or where I am to go.''

It truly seemed to C that she was not born of this earth; rather, that she was a deposited alien who has no earthly history, nor shares in any of its rewards and purposes. Living in a foreign world her existence is almost completely devoid of meaningful connectedness and pleasurable significance. (This is how she felt as a child and by force of negative aversive conditioning this same feeling of estrangement has persisted until this day).

C feels that what is left is nothing and concludes that ''it's all my fault''. I indicated that her 'nothing' is filled with terror, guilt, rage and the like. ''I have no mind - and all is lost.''

This statement is the quintessence of despair, one short step from suicide. As all attempts to find herself were thwarted at every turn - totally blocked - all she could anticipate for certain was predictable frustration. As a result of suppression and then repression of her natural self she gave up expecting to have any faith, trust, hope, love, significance, libido, meaning.

Thus a life devoid of meaningful connectedness has culminated in a sense of utter futility and cynicism that is dramatically expressed in the form of a repetitive organizing question she often asks himself: ''Why hope?, why get out of bed?''

Her experience that both her inside reality and external reality are 'nothing' (no-thing-ness - without substance} being the major symptom of her central problem, the cure then, is to fill the insignificant nothing with a significant something. In this light she suffers from an impoverishment of spirit needing an effective' spiritual psychology' equivalent to cure her.

In a paper called The Psychodynamics of Spirituality, the researcher locates the psychological origins of spirituality in the year one experience of the new born child. This is the area that is central for the baby to either obtain or failing to obtain a cathexis with basic trust, faith, hope, love, the capacity to persist and the beginnings of making meaningful connections with the object world.

A child begins cathects these vital experiences to the degree to which he/she is unconditionally accepted, i.e., loved without strings attached. Thus the 'job' of the baby is essentially passive-that is, to be loved. If the child experiences enough love he/she will spontaneously grow a cohesive self structure (solid identity.) Failure to experience enough love obviates the natural growth and development of a cohesive self.

C concluded the session saying: ''I can't pursue my own mind - my own goals {an autonomous self}, one who can take pleasure in his own choices.'' G replied: ''yes and there you have why you came into treatment, why you stay, and what you want to accomplish.''

C notes: ''If cumulous clouds of terror weren't bad enough there is also intense guilt for being late.'' She associates to the dream.'' I am older now. Three years old then jumps to 15 or 16 years old. A variation on the same theme. I feel unequal to everyone. I can't see the numbers up high. If I feel them I will know what they are. I feel caught in a mysterious maze. The familiar becomes unfamiliar. I couldn't find you. I had to ask for directions to find your room. I became lost and frightened.''

The researcher concluded that C is now more conscious of the intricate process that happens in her internal reality, intimately affecting her outside reality by blocking the expression of her natural self. This blocking prevents her from initiating and sustaining meaningful connections with herself and others.

Note: In retrospect, it is seen that what at first what was thought to be a true autonomous choice may have been in fact, less. So, as she was also frightened to show up late to see G. Nevertheless - with respect to the analysis of synchronistic happenings - this session marked a major shift in this patient's consciousness as she was finally able to get outside her material by cathecting experientially that which she is really up against. (Soldiers in battle may be killed if exposed but, while still alive they are better off knowing the size, position, and other salient details of the enemy than being blanketed by an omnipresent fog.)

A Second Example: Pre-synchronicity Consciousness Of A Patient Struggling To Maintain A Cohesive Sense Of Himself.
D's present situational context has to do with his heretofore attitudes about disappointing others versus himself As his identity has been based on others opinion of him, the idea, let alone the act of disappointing important people, has been a potential threat to his self-esteem.

This has been so because D has equated disappointment with withdrawal of love. And withdrawal of love, by a love object, has been experienced as a loss of his own identity. It is as if he has felt that without a continuing experience of at-one-ment with the love object of the moment he would quite literally die of a broken heart. Therefore, whenever disappointment has entered the picture, D has tried to avoid directly dealing with it at all cost. At such 'danger points' he has tended to break connections literally by leaving the scene or by cutting off his feelings.

D's disappointment allergy is a symptom of an inability to regulate his self-esteem - that is, it is virtually impossible for him at the present time to experience himself as his own final authority. To grow a cohesive self he must first experience himself as worthy to have one. D, aware of his problem, describes his therapeutic task in the following way. ''To have self-worth, I have to trust myself or I choose on the basis of avoiding a lesser fear than a greater fear - the fear of abandonment or fear of hurting someone I love.''

Everything is now up for grabs as the first assumptions about his core attitudes have been successfully challenged in his therapy resulting in his facing those feelings he automatically avoided. But, in squarely facing them at present, he feels trapped between untenable alternatives.

D reacts to these feelings of entrapment with intense frustration. The frustration stirs anger which in turn is turned back on himself culminating in feelings of depression, depletion, futility, and low self-esteem. It is as if he is surrounded by a psychological wall that bars him from moving in any direction: foreword, backwards, sideways, or even remaining in idle.

This fundamental stuckness may be thought of as psychological grid - lock equivalent to Jung's concept of debaisement. For D to stay or to leave, threatens him with a loss of identity. Thus perched midway between the untenable past and a fear of the unknown future, D is in the midst of what might be referred to as a BB experience (the mid point of a creative process of psychological transformation. (see diagram 3)

D's Synchronicity
''Now comes a situation where I am forced to be disappointing.''

D's Reaction to This Synchronicity
D is impressed how life conspires to present material that is absolutely on mark with respect to the psychological issue at hand, ''as if fate were constantly presenting tests in the great laboratory of real life.... Life seems to arrange for pertinent events to occur. Last session I could have had potentially disappointing news. The difference is that instead of us talking about it in the abstract it now becomes a very real vital event.''

I asked him his reaction to this and other synchronous events. He said it was acknowledgment of some of the messiness of life. He is interested in not so much how they arrive but what can be learned from them. In this case he feels he has to make a choice. But why now? ''we create in our own lives what we need . . .I needed to understand this more and come to terms with it- and will continue to until I face it and move through it or I won't progress.''

Discussion: Parallels in the Presynchronicity Consciousness of the Two Examples
Contextual analysis of the presynchronicity consciousness of the two examples C and D reveal parallel contexts. Both C and D found themselves caught on the horns of an unsolvable dilemma - irretrievably stuck in the middle of a binary lock, causing each of them intense personal distress.

These conflicts are experienced as deadlocks {existential facts of life} because each and every conceived of alternative solution feels inadequate to resolve the problem of the moment. Thus C and D both felt squeezed between the vice of what appeared to be two mutually exclusive attitudes, ideas, fantasies, actions. It is as if each person was a hero in a movie serial who suddenly finds himself in a steel chamber with no visible way out. Bad enough he is trapped. Worse is when the walls start to implode threatening the hero with death by crushing.

Both C and D initially experience the deadlock with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. In preoedipal consciousness this feeling is one of despair, perhaps best thought of as a zero point. What in inner space is referred to as a stuck point or psychological zero point might in speculating about the nature of outer space be parallel to the concept of a black hole. It is not unusual for people experiencing the zero point (such as C and D) to imagine they are going to implode leading to catastrophic annihilation. (Jung's debaisement.)

The Stuck Point: Psychological Grid Lock
There are essentially two different and opposing attitudes people have with respect to being stuck between two apparently mutually exclusive feelings, ideas, principles, etc. One is despairing - and giving up - waiting to be rescued; the other is hope affirming - holding firm - pro actively wishing to find some creative way out of the apparent deadlock.

The fact of a passive or active attitude to the perceived zero point has important ramifications with respect to the production of meaningful coincidences. While psychological grid lock is a necessary condition for the production of meaningful coincidences, it is this researcher's observation that it is not a sufficient condition.

For a meaningful condition to arise out of psychological grid lock there must at some point in the process a pro active attitude to find some novel solution to the seemingly unresolveable stuck point. This means, that while the subject may initially - and for a long time after- be in the grips of despair, believing he is a victim of crushing forces beyond his control (passive attitude), only, if and when there is an active wish to initiate a process to change the deadlock, will a synchronicity occur.

Summary:
While all synchronicities examined by the researcher are embedded in contexts in which the subject experiences him/herself as hopelessly trapped in the middle of two seemingly mutually exclusive binaries, there are two fundamental attitudes to this state of affairs. The first attitudinal reaction is usually one of depression and passivity. The second attitudinal reaction is a combination of depression and passivity shifting sooner or latter into an active wish to find a way out of the deadlock at all costs. Thus combined response to a state of psychic imbalance is to initiate a process whereby balance can be restored. This process is characterized by a proactive attempt to problem solve. I believe that this mixture of basic stuckness experienced as depression combined with a proactive wish to find an adequate freeing solution is the psychological soil from which synchronicities flower.

The Psychodynamics of Synchronistic Phenomena
In this light, all examined pre-synchronistic contexts are similar in that they reflect a person who has a felt sense of imbalance seeking an elusively rebalancing resolution. It is proposed that this need for redress of imbalance initiates a process whereby failure at assimilating a solution changes to accommodating a creative solution.

It is further proposed that the central psychodynamics of this creative solution consists of an overlapping of two distinct forms of consciousness (preoedipal/primary process/durational) and (oedipal/secondary process/linear). The combination of these two different forms of consciousness takes the form of a synthetic or tertiary consciousness that is able to find an alternative solution to the seemingly opaque problem. Analogously, this is like the trapped person in the steel room either finding or creating a door to escape. Other names for this dialectic of experience might be psychodynamic consciousness, synthetic consciousness, and/or instinctual consciousness.

The negative vs. positive set of attitudes with respect to the stuck point occurs on two levels of experience being and doing) and may be illustrated in the following figure outlining the process of psychological transformation:

Diagram of the Creative Process Implied in the Psychodynamics of Synchronistic Phenomena
A
Nexus (B)
A' = (C)
Subjective Matrix
Some form of causality/acausality
Parallel Objective Event
 
Intervening variables yet to be specified
 
AB
B
BC
 
ABBC
 
 
b
 
 
b
 


BB is the mid midpoint of a transformative experience. At this points it feels to the initiate as if all (his whole life) is up for grabs. There is an altered state(s) due to the fluidity and newness of significant changes going on. This is also a time when there is an overlapping of two states of consciousness;

(1) durational:
dominated by the fantasy of at - one - ment - perfesion - perfect ease - all harmony - no conflict (frustration free) perfection; and

(2) linear consciousness:
dominated by a rational or mental feeling that all has its certain place - all is understandable in the form of abstract concepts. Whereas the blending of the two states of consciousness forms a tertiary, synthetic consciousness in which the person is in touch with a mix of often contradictory feelings and mixed thoughts - the whole mix being experienced as complexity with all of its attendant uncertainties and ambiguities and unknowns.

The B, BB, b, b, points
The B point is the area of transition midway between A (the subjective event) connecting with A' (the parallel event).

The bb point is the exact crossover point between A and A' {where A' = AB - BC}.

It is at the bb point where the person experiences both an overlap of intense frustration felt as a triad of helplessness/hopelessness/along with a burst of creative energy taking the form of the partial birth of a synchronistic event. (This double experience of extreme negativity straddling positive creative energy is referred to in common' ordinary experience, as despair just at the point lifting).

It finds expression in the phrase; it is darkest before the dawn. Reality may appear to be hopelessly bleak one moment yet, at the moment of significant change, opaque bleakness can turn into numinous release. Analogous experiences of this doubling phenomena are found in expressions such as: a phoenix rises out of its ashes; or, under certain conditions something seemingly appearing out of nothing.

Dr. R. Wiittenberg (a personal communication 1984), speaking about making meaning, said to the researcher:

"human beings can make meaning (find patterns) in any selected raw data that is seemingly neutral." (It might be a fruitful undertaking to review the origins of projective testing, starting with the so called occult sciences: Kabala, I Ching, numerology, astrology, Tarot, and moving on to Rorschach's attempt to divine a test that could adequately differentiate obsessive compulsive personality types from schizophrenics utilizing ink blots that came about as the result (smearing ink on half folded paper}.

In this light, once a person is psychologically ready, that is able to objectify that which previously has been a mystery, an objective parallel event is likely to occur which mirrors and confirms that which is now pre conscious. This implies that, once a person is in a state of psychological readiness: if a meaningful event doesn't happen today, one would surely occur tomorrow.

The concept of readiness enables researchers to understand the process that leads to the production of a synchronistic occurrence from a naturalistic perspective (utilizing the filters of psychodynamics outlined above). This attitude is in marked contrast to that of Jung and his followers (who have about a ninety percent lock on the synchronicity theory market).

Jung and his followers conclude that utilizing psychodynamics only explains the subjective side of the synchronicity equation but does not and cannot explain the mysterious parallel objective, external event. Thus, they reason, since these events apparently happen a- causally, It Is evidence that the universe is spiritualized (equated with Plato's concept of nous).

Thus, with respect to the stuck point, they have no other option than to treat it as if it is intractably existential. Thus there is nothing else to do but passively surrender, hoping that a connection can be made to a higher power which will somehow transmit knowledge into the passively receptive self seeking divine guidance.

By contrast, utilizing the concept of readiness, the psychodynamics of projection, and the process of accommodation (creative problem solving): this researcher believes it possible to understand the production of synchronistic phenomena from a naturalistic perspective. To achieve this objective, the first task is to shift one's attitude to the stuck point, from one of passive existential intractability, to one that is views them as an active problem to be resolved.

A Crucial Pre-Condition for the Ememence of Synchronistic Phenomena:
A State of Active Readiness

Static Inertia to Kinetic Energy
While it appears true that all synchronicities are associated with a given subject's experience of feeling psychologically deadlocked, it is equally true (in this researcher's experience) that the attitude towards the deadlock of the moment is crucial to the timing of the appearance of a given meaning & coincidence. Specifically, for a synchronicity to actually be experienced it is necessary for the subject to shift his attitude about the deadlock from passive to proactive. That is, as long as the deadlock is thought of as hopeless the person spins around in place so to speak like a snake biting his own tail. What must occur to generate a meaningful coincidence is that the subject has to move from judging his condition as hopelessly existential to hopefully problematic to proactively desiring significant psychological change.

Thus, for many sessions, previous to his synchronicity described above p.14, C had been wrestling with attempts to experience autonomy with no particular progress either in 'real' life or even in his dreams. The synchronicity associated with autonomy occurred at a point when and where C affirmed a pro active decision to risk the worst fantasies of potential and actual threat to his being. Along with the proactive decision to act despite the perceived threat she also asked herself the organizing question: what would be the worst thing that would happen to him if he in fact did upset his friend? This allowed C to attempt to objectify her intense feelings by reality testing instead of just over or under reacting as a result of giving into a hyper subjective emotional state.

The same observation holds true for the timing of the appearance of the researchers' synchronicity referred to as: Saved at the Eleventh Hour. For many months he had been in the grips of despair previous to the appearance of this synchronicity. Try as he might to free himself from psychological bonds, all roads led to inactivity and negative inertia. This state of affairs continued until he generated a head of steam' and proactively committed himself to proactively changing his reality come hell or high water. In this light, I believe it no coincidence that he had a meaningful coincidence the next day validating the observation that when he was ready to really act and not just pay lip service to changing, the conditions were finally ripe for a synchronicity to occur. {The organizing question accompanying his readiness to act was does he have the power to preserver despite major set backs?}

The fact of active readiness associated with the appearance of a meaningful coincidence cited in the two examples above, may be generalized to the production of all meaningful coincidences. Thus, in this view, readiness has to traverse its own process ranging from passive readiness (a wish to attain something desired that is conflictualized but energized only to the point of its a good idea) to a state of active readiness (wherein the passive idea is now convened into the initiation of an active process potentially leading to significant change so that what was originally only passively wished for is convened into proactively seeking a creative solution.

Further, it is noted that soon following a proactive wish to find a solution to the seemingly intractable binary will be the creation of an organizing question. This organizing question will be suffused with libido {libidinized} or 'magnetized' enabling it to both identify and to draw into its domain resonant material (information) derived from the flow of seemingly random events (the raw data of personal experience). This magnetizing or libidinizing process may be referred to as proactive meaning making.

Iron Filings Experiment In General Science
Proactive meaning is operationally defined as a process which combines contents from the creative unconscious and consciousness of a given human being and filters them through the form of a defined structure. The structure in each case is equivalent to an organizing concept which captures and synthesizes relevant raw data of experience, Capturing and synthesizing relevant raw data of experience takes the form of perceiving meaningful patterns in seemingly random bits of experience. Note the iron filing experiment in an eighth grade science lesson. The teacher takes a piece of plain, white 8X10 paper pouring iron filings on top of it. Then she lifts the paper to chest level. Next she places a strong magnet underneath the paper containing the iron filings and moves it around. As the magnet was moving, one could observe the iron filings correspondingly moving on top of the paper arranging themselves into swirling patterns. The point of the experiment is to demonstrate the reality and power of electromagnetism. I believe this process has application to understanding the psychodynamics of synchronistic phenomena.

The white paper = the state of psychological deadlock. The magnet = the derived combination of the essence of the particular deadlock in question which generates a magnetizing organizing concept. The iron filings = the raw data of experience out of which meaningful patterns will be derived.

Summary or The Psychological Conditions Leading To The Production Of Meaningful Coincidences
Assuming the conditions surrounding the production of synchronistic phenomena are (I) a perception that one is caught in what feels to be an unresolveable existential dead lock (trapped between two mutually exclusive (untenable) positions, states of mind, alternative choices etc.); and, (2). A person in such a state of existential stuckness moves from a state of resignation to a felt desire to proactively find a way out of the trap: initiates a creative process whereby what is first experienced as hopelessly existential is now perceived as hopefully problematic. {As I am hopelessly trapped I might as well die - to I refuse to give up, there must be a way out of this maze.) Formula: psychological deadlock + a desire for a creative solution = magnetizing an organi2ing concept. wherein the particular organizing concept to be magnetized is derived from the essence of the psychological deadlock in question. (In a well - defined statement of a problem lies an embedded solution). Another name for this process is proactive meaning. Analyzing this synchronicity it 'might be said that the subject, once having cathected his conscious desires plus activating his will and determination to do something about actualizing his desires into fact was in a state associated with the production of meaningful coincidences.. Now that the goal was clear it had the effect of being like a magnet drawing together any and all resonant material (information, ideas, leads, etc.,) towards the production of a creative solution to his seemingly intractable problem.

(In the process of psychoanalytic psychotherapy it is clear that synchronicities occur at the end of a three step process. This process begins with a patient indicating they have reached a point of deadlock with respect to their despair about ever being able to either start some action which will lead them to a desired goal or stopping some action which causes them great distress. Whether a sought after change be either starting something or ending something, the patient subjectively feels stuck - spinning around in a psychological dish washer - like a snake biting its own tail. The process which must occur which is associated with the production of meaningful coincidences is that what is first considered to be by the patient as hopelessly existential shifting to hopeful problematical. He then has to commit himself to some proactive choice in which he demonstrates a willingness to struggle with struggle. Once committing himself to action, an organizing question will be generated which will be used in the service of a 'magnet' attracting resonant material into its space. Once the deadlock Is thought of as problematic instead of intractably existential: the solution then, is found in resolving the issue at hand

An Example Of Magnetizing or libidinizing An Organizing Concept.
Once a commitment is made to actively struggle to change what seems to be an intractable dilemma it takes the form of generating an organizing question. This organizing question in turn becomes libidinized or magnetized (cathected). The magnetized organizing concept acts to draw into its orbit resonant raw data of experience. what determines resonance is the degree to which a piece of raw data helps to further a solution to the dilemma at hand. An example of magnetizing or libidinizing the organizing concept follows.

Syncronicity: Saved by the Rabbi at the 11th Hour
The second major synchroncity of the researcher some three years after the Lazarus Rising From The Dead synchronicity.

The Situational Context
G is impacted seeing Munch's paintings, particularly identifying with a man shrieking on a bridge. He is feeling hopelessly stuck at a dead end civil service job - vocationally trapped, and psychologically paralyzed. He desperately wants to leave but despite a masters degree in psychologically feels underqualified to look for a more challenging job. However, despite his stuckness he feels as if he is reaching a breaking point.

The Immediate Context
A conscious decision is made to go back to graduate school to get a Ph.D. in psychology but as money is needed he reluctantly asks his family for help. This request leads to a critical meeting with his brother in law who assumes the role of the family spokesman. The brother in law tells G that the family thinks he is profligate, and expecting too much from others" and therefore his request is denied. The brother in law also disparaging G's apartment says to him: "How can you stand to live in this s... hole? This remark {the straw that breaks the camel's back) induces a powerful internal reaction of rage in G but because he is too insecure he is uncertain as to whom it is directed - the family or himself. Thus he while longing to lash out, paralyzed by crippling self-doubt - all he does in fact, is to remain head bowed and mute.

The Psychological Context
Although G Initially identified with the aggressor (joining forces with the attackers) he also felt that he had been abandoned coupled with a powerful reaction of resentment which took the form of a wish to avenge himself. Thus despite feeling lost and confused in both love and work he was determined that he would exert every effort to find a more suitable job and to find the money to go to graduate school no matter what the cost and do it soon. Thus, now ready to commit, he shifted from passive inert resignation to proactive kinetic action. This shift from passive to active generated an organizing concept which he became conscious of in the middle of the restless night following the encounter with his brother in law.

At some point while mulling his options, G had a creative flash. He thought: stay where he was to maintain financial security but begin to look for a possible part time job as a psychologist. This idea represented a compromise- 'bridge' position- between suffocating at the job he hated versus risking financial insecurity to look for a dubious full time job as a psychologist

The Synchronicity: Saved By the Rabbi at The Eleventh Hour
With that idea in mind, the next day, he turned to a co worker/friend and said that if she were ever to get a position as a part time psychological tester, please tell him right away. Remarkably, Only five hours later, the co worker said to G: "You will never believe what just happened." She then said that a Rabbi, a friend of hers who also happens to run a drug addiction center, called her, asking if she knew of anyone who could give psychological tests part time.

Reactions to this Meaningful Coincidence
Though feeling deserted, there was also the feeling of being at the right place at the right time. Once again G experienced an eleventh hour reprieve in the form of a stroke of good fortune. He noted a connection between his troubled state of mind, his feeling deadlocked; his wish to be saved coupled with a conscious willingness to change and the experience of a particularly meaningful coincidence. The synchronicity was experienced as if it was an answer to his prayers. Years later, G would view his good fortune from a more naturalistic perspective. For,at the time of the 'amazing' synchronicity, he never considered the possibility (probability) that the source of his good fortune had been a combination of his asking for specific help from his co worker friend and her likely good turn in soliciting a job for him from her Rabbi friend- never revealing her good natured secret to him.

Commentary
From a naturalistic perspective, the production of synchronicities (meaningful coincidences) may be explained by substituting synthetic causality in the place of conventional 'scientific' causality as the link connecting the intrapsychic event A with the parallel external event A'.

To repeat, synthetic causality is a hybrid concept composed of conventional causality plus psychodynamics. If this substitution is accepted then linear logic (of the mind) is transcended by experiential logic (of thoughts, feelings, intuitions, and physical sensations). This more complex logic would be akin to Hegelian dialectic plus the unconscious. The basic assumption of experiential logic is, that the world is held together not because of linear causality alone, but by linear causality and durational causality working in concert. This view of a hybrid causality shifts the origins of meaningful connections from the dry mind only, to creations of sentient, passionate whole selves attempting to forge meaningful connections with themselves and with the object world.

Synthetic causality takes as its starting points individuals mired in the 'real' world -struggling to order their own chaos but often feeling intractably stuck between a seemingly endless progression of mutually exclusive positions. No sooner than the struggle with struggle results in springing the dead lock of the moment, sooner than later many individuals predictably find themselves 'trapped' In another seemingly intractable dilemma.

In this light, It seems valid to state that every man's existence is composed of moving from one problem to another. Or In the words of the instructive children's song: "A bear went over the mountain, a bear went over the mountain, a bear went over the mountain to see what he could see. He saw another mountain..." To effectively negotiate scaling mountains - mastering problems- requires individuals to become increasingly adept in adapting, both with respect to assimilation (pouring new wine in old bottles) and accommodating ("pouring new wine into new bottles")

Bearing the above in mind, it is this researcher's opinion that the key to understanding the nature of the process that leads to the production of synchronicities from a naturalistic perspective entails treating them as by products of human beings need to accommodate creative solutions to seemingly intractable dilemmas. Additional names for accommodation are effective problem solving and/or creative problem solving.

The Creative Process as An Evolving Series Of Additive Links Of Expanding Consciousness on Causal Chains
Viewing the production of meaningful coincidences from the vantage point of a science of psychodynamics indicates that it is centrally associated with attempts to induce significant change. Change in this connection refers to the perception that present "stuckness" (an experience of existential entrapment with no hope of release) is only illusory; and if so inclined, generates a proactive process whereby a failure to assimilate an adequate solution to a problem is converted into a cathexis of accommodation (creative process) producing alternative choices both in attitudes and in behavior. In short, static energy is converted into kinetic energy. Or, in other terms, negative reverberation oscillation is converted into positive reverberation oscillation. In the language of depth psychology synchronicities are intimately related to the working through process. The working through process refers to the time spent by therapist and patient in thoroughly understanding the nature of a given problem complex so that once understood informed choice replaces automatic impulsive or compulsive or frozen behavior.

Further, if as hypothesized, synchronicities are correlated with the working through process of objectifying the subjective - (either as an outcome of a life of natural self reflection, or the outcome of an accelerated process of systematically working on the self - e.g. being in psychotherapy, then a string {run} of synchronicities for a given individual would signify that a significant degree of problem resolution was taking place. If this is so, then the examination of a cluster or string or run of synchronicities for a given individual should evidence a progression of graduated consciousness (consciousness expansion).

{With respect to the process of psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy an operational definition of consciousness is to verbalize previously unspoken thoughts and feelings. Hence the unconscious stands for unspoken words and feelings.} Thus one would expect with each additional synchronicity on a string of meaningful coincidences that each one reflects a common theme but that each additional coincidence adds its own more complex perspective of the matter at hand.

Thus runs of synchronicities (particularly occurring over a relatively compressed amount of time (hours, days, weeks) serve the function of providing additional clues in a psychological scavenger hunt whose combined task is to provide the combination for springing the idiosyncratic lock of the moment, initially experienced as hopelessly entrapping.

It also appears that consciousness does indeed expand on a moment to moment basis. Witness the amazement of sensitive parents as they attune themselves to the remarkably fast changes their new-born makes as he/she adapts to internal and external reality.

Consciousness expansion may, of course, be readily seen over the course of many days, months and years. The shift from a fetal position to standing upright unsupported is an enormous developmental leap to make in the pace of only 365 days more or less.

Piaget acknowledges the expansion of consciousness with his concepts of psychic organizers. Conscious expansion may evolve as in maturational steps such as moving from the oral to the anal period. Or, it can occur as the result of a revolutionary responses to trauma (crisis). The expansion of consciousness can also be accelerated by engaging in systematic work on the self as for example a dedication to a three times a week psychoanalysis over a ten year period.

In this light consciousness expansion occurs in incremental steps wherein one becomes gradually aware of individual pieces of what will eventually turn out to be a synthesized complex jig saw puzzle. Synchronicities in this view may at one and the same time be regarded as a synthesized puzzle in its own right and is also the awareness of the first piece of a new puzzle. The following diagram is an illustration of this idea.

A Progression of a Run Of Synchronicities Equivalent to A Wedge Of Consciousness Expansion

Each box = an individual synchronicity; box a is connected to box b and so on in ascending order = all synchronicities in a thread of synchronicities similar in reflecting a common theme and different in that each additional synchronicity reflects an increasing complexity of variation of the theme. The line throughout all of the synchronicities reflecting a representation of a consciousness in the process of expansion.

To illustrate the above; consider the following notes on D, a 38 year old male patient suffering from Avoidant Personality Disorder. This material summarizes his experience of key marker experiences motivating him to seek out professional help.

During the summer of 1991, D experienced himself hopelessly stuck. "I wasn't going anywhere and I felt empty." A major problem for him was his interpretation of this unpleasant state of affairs as existential; that is, it's the way it was. Seeing no other options, the patient sank into a deepening depression. Once in treatment he transformed his closed ended, just-so 'existential attitude' to one which viewed his depressed state as the surface symptom of some deeper set of unresolved psychological conflicts yet to be identified, hence unconscious.

During his treatment, at this time, D began reporting a number of meaningful coincidences. The essence of one of these has been previously noted in this paper.

Synchroncitiy I: He is forced to disappoint
The net effect of this synchronicity was that D now experienced (became consciously aware) of the core reason why he sought out treatment. This awareness enabled him to focus on present and past and anticipated future events which were in any way associated with the potential for disappointing others.

Up to relatively recently, D automatically avoided any direct encounter with disappointing others. This was so, as his sense of self depended on the perception of approving authority figures. Therefore, he couldn't take the chance of alienating important people. {He dared not risk biting the emotional hand of people he depended upon.} So he would either acquiesce, or act out his diagnosis (avoiding conflict by either leaving the scene, or by detaching himself internally). His problem in recent days is that he is aware that to avoid or to acquiesce results, not in relieving him for the moment, but creating additional psychic pain. For to acquiesce now makes him feel as if he is a hypocrite and sell out; to avoid makes him feel isolated, depressed, filling him with an empty dead feeling.

D summed up his therapy experience to date as: ''initially needing crisis management but now I am now looking to improve the quality of my life.'' In that connection, he spontaneously began speaking about the correlation between being psychologically ready and the appearance of meaningful coincidences. D speculated about ''unseen forces that we don't understand but clearly influence our lives. But that perhaps we don't really need to understand them. Just the realization that there are other unseen dimensions. Like radio waves and electricity. What is important is to harness the power and the energy so it can be focused and utilized". (He is, I believe, talking about cathecting his personal unconscious}.

Said D: "I am much more comfortable with being than doing. The process of doing is different." So D straddles a new place between being and purposeful doing which permits him increasing but still qualified freedom to act. Logically he feels he should feel free but he doesn't entirely. This is so because the problem (how to stay with uncomfortable feelings which lets him preserve a solid continuous self) is solved but raises the next issue which is what does he want to do with this new continuous self. He is free to choose but he is uncertain about what choices to make. He feels that he should know what that choice is but does not as yet (which depresses him), so he is back once again to the same attitude about not knowing, except on a higher level. This is an example of what is referred to as the golden thread. D is clearly developing a solid self - one that is able to make informed choices that are experienced as organic, real, and meaningful. But it is a step by step process, connection by connection, non magical in the sense of it not happening in a twinkling of an eye enabling him to be passively perfectly transformed to live happily ever after.

It is important to note that those like D who take meaningful coincidences seriously, not uncommonly describe the aftermath of their experiencing a meaningful coincidence, as an expansion of their consciousness, signifying a reorganization of their self structure. This suggests that synchronicities do indeed occur when the unconscious has been made conscious; but, that which is made conscious may be viewed as a partial solution of a still larger problem seeking total resolution. In this light, it is hypothesized that when there is a run of coincidences it likely signifies that a complex psychological problem is in the process of being worked through - wherein, each coincidence is like an attained clue that partially reveals the solution to a complex psychological puzzle.

D's second coincidence in a run of coincidences:

Background Material
D indicates that there are now three possibilities for new work all converging. For him the meaning of this convergence is that he wishes to have' the maximum amount of freedom to make the best decision. The next vocational choice then is a test of true autonomy.

The Synchronicity: Another direct reference to what he was mulling over in his consciousness.

D indicated that he once again turned to the same book he has been reading C.Wilson's New Pathways in Psychology and was surprised to read Wilson quoting Sartre, "seeing yourself through other's eyes" (implying it is difficult to be truly objective about oneself).

The Significance of this Material
The convergence of three others all wanting the whole of him forces D to confront the primary issue of his treatment: who is D really and what does D really want, independent of what others singularly or collectively want from him. Said D: ''All separate issues we have been discussing {the wish for autonomy; his dependence on others to approve and validate him - the world as a reflecting mirror; his fear of disappointing projected authority figures lest they withdraw their love and abandon him} are converging.... Life seems to conspire to bring these elements together in me so that it becomes a test of where I really am at.''

The lesson he extracted from this experience is you can't have it all, but if you can accept realistic limits you can at least have a gratifying choice. He went on to rework past material. He has been afraid to make independent choices (add) risking incurring the displeasure of important others. At the same time, he has risked disappointment in himself for failing to risk taking independent positions. He has previously dealt with this dilemma by compromising, which for D has meant deferring to the most important projected authority of the moment rationalizing that he has made a free choice. But he has known all along that the compromise was too great a price to pay resulting in him feeling insecure and unreal.

This synchronicity and the material associated with it had the net effect of strengthening his sense of wholeness as if sections of a multi leveled jigsaw puzzle have been joined together. This has led to an increase of energy, vitality, excitement, hope, and faith in the possibility of accessing his creative self. All of this has resulted in a notable increase of self - esteem and elevated confidence. His relative sense of passive readiness has shifted into a state of active readiness resulting in his experiencing an increasing resonance - attunement - between his whole self and his 'true' self.

(Freud's comment comes to mind: that what is occult and out there for Jung is unconscious and in the depths of inner space for Freud). D's Golden Thread has been to access and to come to terms with his life long tendency of having compulsively escaped dealing with unavoidable conflicts. In so doing he has been making a 180 degree turn towards a transformation allowing him to fully engage his vital core so as to have the freedom to choose what for him is the attainment of a quality life. D is considerably better able to experience and to process realistic complexity (internally and externally) having become increasingly more aware of the process by which he makes order out of chaos.

I asked him why it has apparently been so important for him to seek true knowledge of himself. Why has he been knocking his head to feel such pain? He reiterated that he came to realize that his life was no real life instead, he felt dead. Thus even though painful it is better to face the complexity of his life than to escape it and experience continual nothingness. So all of his life he has been seeking a method whereby he could begin to fit the mixed up pieces of his personal jigsaw puzzle into a quality work of art.

In this light D has experienced his treatment as growing a structure (the self) to be able to harness his heretofore aimless energy. The method is of course him and me session by session identifying, exploring and systematically working through his major problems. We are like Plato and Socrates walking in the woods of his interior reality. We dialogue together, always trying to objectify his subjective with myself doing the same with myself as well. We gradually gain knowledge of his particular cause and effect connections which collectively detail the soul and substance of his experiential logic. To repeat: experiential logic is operationally defined as a combination of feelings, thoughts and judgments action plus transference positive and negative plus an overlapping of durational and linear logic plus what one uniquely brings to bear in generating creative meanings.)

Up until the last few days D's conscious attitude to disappointing was let it ride - patching the difficulty at best. Now it is get underneath it. He now talks about himself as having been a great disappointment to himself. But having learned to better tolerate his imperfections he now wishes to get underneath the material. He is now aware that he is responsible for his choices and decisions. To patch means to expend little effort in trying to solve the problem of the moment. He can no longer shrink from the fact that if he avoids disappointing others then he will inevitably disappoint himself. Thus "while it hurts to face disappointment, it hurts worse not to."

Another Synchronicity In A Run of Sychronicities
In the next session, D reported that once again he randomly turned to a page in the book he had been reading and found a striking attunement between that which had been a problem in his mind with that which was being reflected back to him on the page. It struck D., that he has been using the book and, indeed the whole world, as a reflecting mirror. He concluded that he must take more responsibility for mirroring himself. Once again this synchronicity is a marker that he is becoming increasingly more conscious of himself now having greater access to his own powers.

Runs of Meaningful Coincidences Associated with Childhood Traumas.
Analyses of runs of meaningful coincidences indicates that what is being worked through may likely be a trauma, confluence of traumas, and/or a climate of trauma having its origin in childhood.

For example: D's coincidences are embedded in psychological and situational contexts which originate with the sudden disappearance of a loved relative (who actually died but D didn't know that fact for a long while) leaving him utterly confused, bereft and overwhelmed with unexpressed and un-understood mixed feelings. In order to keep himself intact, D developed a style of muting internal or external conflict culminating in his diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder.

Synchronicity Prone Patients Associated with a Multi-Perspectival Point of View
It is noted that patients like C and D (synchronicity prone and synchronicity aware) order their internal and external chaos utilizing a multi-perspectival process. This process accesses a variety of streams of information (ideas, feelings, intuitions and sensations) filtering them from a variety of perspectives (philosophical, psychological, psychodynamic, physiological, scientific, artistic, spiritual, {esoteric occult}, and political). This means that these people attempt to organize the raw data of their experience holistically rather than in parts.

In other words, these people have the capacity of viewing any piece of reality (internal and or external) from a multiplicity of points of view utilizing various streams of information and often experiencing it as if it was all happening, in them or to them, simultaneously. However, what should be experienced by them as a treasured gift is, instead, experienced as an overwhelming burden, particularly so at the start of their treatment.

In this light, synchronicities (meaningful coincidences) are the externalized concretization (synthesis) of idiosyncratic processes working through the priority psychological problem of the moment. The most current synchronicity, then, is a marker that the problem of the moment has attained an adequate resolution although it is still in coded form (preconscious). Being coded, it needs to be decoded. {B. Honneger suggests that synchronicities be treated as though they were waking dreams, decoding them in the same way that dreams are analyzed, i.e., assessing the situational, psychological, and historical contexts in which they are embedded and associating individual elements of the coincidence to them.}

Predictions
An analysis of relevant contexts in which a synchronicity is embedded will reveal a psychological dilemma which initially is experienced as if it is unresolvable.

Synchronicities will not occur until and unless there is a shift from passive helplessness and hopelessness with respect to the attitude of entrapment to one that is proactively dedicated to initiating a process whose aim is aim to discover or create an adequate resolution of the problem at hand.

A run of meaningful coincidences should likely reveal 'a golden thread' in which each synchronicity is like a clue in an elaborate psychological scavenger hunt, each one providing significant understanding to collectively work through a major psychological problem (trauma, traumas, or climate of trauma originating in childhood).

Conclusions
Synchronicities grow out of the soil of psychic conflict. In this view they are the end result of a psychological process which has as its aim the creation of a constructive resolution to what previously seems to have been an unresolveable stuck point. Thus synchronicities are intimately involved with a felt need for significant psychological change and transformation.

But, for synchronicities to be born, the attitude about the stuckness has to shift from passive to active. Once doing so, it is hypothesized, that the energy used in the service of depressing the subject is now freed up to be available for 'creative' purposes.

Analytically, it seems reasonably clear that synchronicities are intimately associated with creative decision making which is initially experienced as unresolvable dilemmas seeking resolutions. In this light, the psychoanalytic psychotherapy {and the psychoanalytic} process actively encourages these phenomena to occur as it both arranges the atmosphere to be that which is most conducive for synchronistic phenomena to appear, and implicitly and explicitly concentrates on identifying, exploring, and working through a given patient's stuck points - which is, in this researcher's opinion - the essential fact of meaningful coincidences.

Synchronicities are associated with the 'working though process' indicating that a synthesis of various streams of information (cognitions, feelings, sensations, intuitions), filtered through a variety of perspectives (philosophical, psychological, physiological, scientific, spiritual, occult, political) has been attained and is crystallized in the form of the most current meaningful coincidence.

The resolution to the problem, initiating a process leading to the production of a synchronicity is one which reflects the whole person's best answer to the problem at hand. In this connection, a quotation from C.Rycroft commenting on the nature and function of dreams states parallels a similar conjecture about the nature and function of meaningful coincidences.

Rycroft states:
''the existence of some mental activity which is more preoccupied with the individual's life span and destiny than is the conscious ego with its day - to - day involvement with immediate contingencies.''

Decoded meaningful coincidences indicate that there has been a notable expansion of consciousness. This expansion of consciousness is noted in a release of neutral energy (libido) which may be used for creative purposes. Indicators of expanded consciousness include: a subjective experience of shifting from fragmented to cohesive; fusion to separated; projected authority to experiencing oneself as their own final authority; passive to active; diffuse to concentrated; black white thinking to complexity; an over-reliance of linear logic to synthetic {instinctual} logic; subjective to objective; relatively imprisoned to relatively free; relatively inadequate to relatively confident.

Viewed in the light of this paper, meaningful coincidences are naturalistic by-products of human beings utilizing the totality of available informational streams filtered through multiple perspectives to arrive at the 'best' resolution possible at a given time to free themselves from what initially seems like a never ending entrapment in the horns of a psychological dilemma.

From this perspective, there is nothing mystical or divine about the origins of these anomalous events. While this analysis does rob the 'magic' associated with only observing the surface; it nevertheless affirms a wondrous appreciation for the creative capacities of each person to order his own internal and external chaos.

Practical Applications of the Paper
As a test of the validity of this paper, it seems worthwhile to utilize its major assertions in reviewing at the Lazarus Rising Synchronicity and the second synchronicity in a series of nineteen: Saved by the Rabbi at the 11th Hour.

Presynchronicity Consciousness of the Lazarus Rising Synchronicity
(November 1963)

Situational context
Army discharge pending; breaking up with a girlfriend (7/8th's engaged to); introduced to the esoteric occult; meets fascinating people: an artist, a psychiatrist, a spiritualist leader; (a search for a role model who represent substitute good father figures).

Immediate context
At a crossroad with a dead end job at a New York State employment service; no place to go; attend a seance and have what appears to be a vision of a grandmotherly figure.

Psychological Context
The break up and the dead end job parallel my inner sense of fundamental stuckness: I cannot tolerate where I am but, am uncertain how to leave and fell I have no place to go. Stuck between the old and the new. I am stuck between the identification of myself as self sufficient versus a need for external guidance. I feel dominated by "sickly emotions". I couldn't sustain the relationship due to swings of ambivalence. I feel spiritually bankrupt and in need of salvation.

A Synchronicity Occurs
The Lazarus Rising Synchronicity gives me a sense of hope holding out the possibility that there is in fact divinity that may be personally contactable. I reacted to the synchronicity with intense awe and excitement I felt in touch with the essence of a mystery that holds the possibility of connecting with divine guidance.

I believe that I hit bottom and admitted and surrendered to the need for external help thus cathecting (making meaning) of my own wished for unnamed higher power concept, (L) the Psychiatrist and D his patient were for me, transferred idealized good parent substitute figures who unconditionally accepted, valued and invited me into their special elitist group. Their acknowledgment of me - the whole me - stirred up remarkable feelings of perfesion (perfect ease) and at-one-ment altered states.

Synchronicity Two follows directly from Synchronicity One. On the surface Synchronicity One is a wish for the possibility of a personal connection with divinity for the purposes of receiving good guidance. Synchronicity Two moves this idea along by seemingly validating the actuality of apparent appearance of a personal divinity in the form of what is experienced as an amazing coincidence (a perfect match between a desired job description with a near perfect position in a very small space of time).

On a deeper level: Synchronicity one reflects the need of my basic self to face up to splits by finding a way to reconcile them by aligning myself with effective earthly guidance ...Synchronicity two demonstrates the power of my creative unconscious in finding a creative solution in the midst of a crisis which at the time I was unable to validate.

Addendum to Jahn Letter    RE: Synchronicities

A Contribution Towards Attempting To
Understand The Effects Of Consciousness and Cosmology

In listening to a Professor of Physics (Dr. Greene) on National Public Radio discussing the theory of a hypothesized anti-gravitational force, the idea came to me of processing this idea through the filter of psychodynamics.

From this perspective, it occurs to me that while conflict is at the heart of primary inner and outer external experience - there is also a powerful human desire to avoid it at all costs. A chief way of avoiding conflict (a denial of complexity) is an appeal to the so-called inscrutable workings of God, particularly at those times when something overwhelmingly terrible, or 'miraculous' undeniably happens which boggles our minds.

Indeed, a majority of people polled believe that God is conscious, and is personally concerned with individuals (all or a few?) and will, under selective conditions, intervene in a salutary way to the point of defying conventional laws of time and space. Thus I wonder if the construct of an anti-gravitational force is also a way of jumping onto the God bandwagon that seems to be gaining increasing momentum as we move towards the year 2000 wherein historically that same tide of belief happens in predictable fashion.

An anti-gravity force would psychologically be equivalent to the idea of transcendence. In the best sense transcendence would be directed to the attainment of enlightened understanding; in the narrowest sense transcendence would be an attempt to over simplify reality by an appeal to a union with God's will - a thinly veiled denial of and escape from mundane complexity - perhaps even a denial of messy ambivalent feelings and the like.





copyright © 1999-2000 Gibbs A. Williams, Ph.D.